The present study was carried out to examine the effect of potassium depletion in rat kidneys subjected to a temporary ischemic event produced by clamping of left renal artery. The postischemic kidneys of rats on a normal diet with adequate potassium intake showed an increase in H2O, Na and K excretion, with no change in inulin clearance whereas significant differences were found in potassium-deprived rats. Potassium depletion was brought about by dietary K deprivation for 10 days. K-depleted rats (serum K = 2.5 ± 0.1 mEq/l) had a decrease in inulin clearance of the postischemic kidney from 1.01 ± 0.10 to 0.43 ± 0.05 ml/min (p < 0.01), and a greater increase in fractional excretion of H2O, Na and K when compared to normal rats. The postischemic kidney from both normal and hypokalemic rats showed a decrease in Na-K-ATPase of the inner stripe of the outer medulla. These data indicate that short-term ischemia produces polyuria, increases natriuresis and kaliuresis, associated, at least in part, with a decrease in Na-K-ATPase in the inner stripe of the outer medulla (probably the thick ascending limb of Henle) and that K depletion potentiates ischemic renal failure.

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